A number of schools have been asked to close because they have unsafe RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) in their roof construction. We had a survey for this on 18th July and received the report on the first day of term. This confirmed that no RAAC was found and confirmed we can open as normal with no action needed. The surveyors intend to return at some point to look at areas they were unable to access but think in unlikely that we have any RAAC. The letter below sent before we had this confirmation therefore still applies.
You may have seen recent media coverage regarding Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) and its use in educational settings. RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete; because it is weaker than regular concrete, concerns have been raised about its long-term durability. Department for Education (DfE) has recently changed its guidance to education settings on the management of RAAC to take a more precautionary approach and as a result areas in affected spaces will be vacated.
We do not have any confirmed RAAC in our buildings and have not been asked to close any areas. However, we want to take care and to be sure, and are currently working with the DfE and our surveyors to actively check whether RAAC has been used in the construction of any part of our buildings. If RAAC is identified, we will let you know straight away, and we have contingencies in place.
We think this is highly unlikely as RAAC was used from the mid 1950s until the early 90s and Woodside was opened in 1952. Also, since becoming an academy we have had all the original roofing professionally surveyed and the covering replaced with funding from the DfE. We would have expected the decking to have been replaced at the same time if it had been any problem.
The change in guidance is precautionary in nature, and only affects education premises where the presence of RAAC has been confirmed.
Any contingency plans will prioritise the continuation of education and ensure that, if RAAC is identified, any impact on children is kept to an absolute minimum. Rest assured that the safety of children and staff is of paramount importance to all concerned.
Thank you for your understanding.
Mr E E Caines